M. L. Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Gender Identity Issues.

I first decided to seek therapy in 2015, and I used BACP website, which is what lead me to Patti. In the last 3 years, with her help, I have radically transformed my life. As a trans person, I’ve noticed in our community, that we focus on our external appearance, often seeking out a treatment that will help us make our physical selves more accurately represent, how we feel inside out. This has been demonstrated, during my time with Patti. I’ve often felt over the last three years, that many of us get the process of transition the wrong way around. We should start from the inside out, not the outside in. I spent many years in denial about how I felt. So much so, that I’d even managed to convince myself that I was happy with my circumstances. Deep down inside, I know now that it couldn’t have been true. If it was true, I would have stayed the same, and not changed. I try not to be too hard on myself and tell myself that in the culture in which I was born and raised, I was taught that I had no right to be me.  Over the years, a gremlin grew inside of me, that was full of negative thoughts. One thing that I’ve learned is not to bury negative emotions but open up to them and confront them –I have Patti’s gentle challenging of my own negative thoughts, to thank for that. Now, the gremlin within, whilst still there, is a much-diminished creature, and is no longer controlling me. I have Patti to thank for helping me to challenge my gremlin, and see it for what is. Negative thoughts in my own head, that I could keep in check, and not let it control my future.

 

What I  want to say is that much of my life was based on avoiding situations, and avoiding therapy was part of that. I avoided seeking help because I was afraid of the consequences. Burying everything six feet underground had worked for me for forty odd years. Why shouldn’t it serve me well for the remainder of my life? I see it as testament to Patti skills, abilities and intuition, that she was able to break through the walls that I had built around myself. At the same time, she encouraged me, when I was ready, to take down those walls, brick by brick.

 

Now, when I chat with people online, I try to convince them to seek help. Sometimes it’s frustrating, especially when people say they can’t afford it – when at the same time they spend money elsewhere. I tell these people that the biggest investment you can make, is in yourself, your potential and your happiness. No price can be put on that. My time with Patti, has for me helped open doors. But being a grown-up, means accepting that only I, could walk through those doors. Patti provided a neutral ground away from family and friends, who often bring their own feelings into play. I didn’t feel I needed to defend myself or argue the case, for one identity over another. It continues to be my one hour a week with Patti. It gives me the space to express how I feel, without judgement. Looking back through my journal, I can see I have been through a world-wind of change, in other people’s eyes. But my transition progressed at my pace, in a series of ‘baby steps’ that help build and re-build my confidence. And yes, I have I lost people along the way. But I’ve gained as many new people, as I have lost. And I’ve gained something else as well. A sense of myself without any compromises. 

 

I now feel more philosophical about my transition. Life is all about change, and transition. This was a viewpoint that Patti suggested, and its one that has resonated with me ever since. It takes courage and conviction to embrace change, and Patti certainly has supported me along the way. For a long time, I felt at sea deciding what direction my life should take. But now that I have embraced my new direction, life is calmer. An increasingly new me feels less of uncertain experiment and more about just being me.